Kansas City and Bridj Launch Urban Mobility Program Using Ford Transit Fleet
Public-Private Enterprise Brings Transportation Agency’s Network to Greater KC Area
Kansas City is about to get a lot smaller thanks to a new public-transportation pilot program carried out by Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) and Bridj, a company that specializes in urban logistics. Called Ride KC: Bridj, the collaboration marks the first of its kind between a private transportation company and a major metropolitan transit agency. Using a fleet of 10 Kansas City–produced Ford Transit high-roof vans, the goal of Ride KC: Bridj is to make it easier for citizens to get around using KCATA’s existing public transportation network and Bridj’s shuttle capabilities.
A “smart” shuttle service, Ride KC: Bridj uses the technology company’s platform to determine where riders want to go and how to get them there most efficiently. Unlike other public transportation systems, there are no preset routes with Bridj, and each shuttle’s timetable is determined by rider need.
The one-year program will include coverage for downtown Kansas City and several surrounding neighborhoods. The coverage map was optimized based on where many people live and work in the city, and many pick-up locations will be at bus stops and other areas served by KCATA. This will give those riders even more access to the city as needed.
“Only 18 percent of jobs in the Kansas City region are accessible within 90 minutes using existing mass transit options,” said Bridj CEO Matt George. Bridj’s network will improve access to jobs, giving Kansas City a shot in the arm in terms of economic opportunity. “[Ride KC: Bridj is] an example of what is possible when cities adopt technological innovation and work in collaboration with private entities to create a truly modern city,” George said.
Ford has some experience with smart shuttle service. Its own Dynamic Shuttle service has been in place on the company’s Dearborn campus for a few months now. Programs like Dynamic Shuttle and Ride KC: Bridj (for which Ford has an exclusive supply contract) are part of the company’s Smart Mobility plan, aimed at reducing traffic congestion and providing everyone with convenient mobility.